The power of the arts, and music especially, to capture the attention of young people and draw out their talents was made clear at the recent NIHERST Science Music Video Awards ceremony.

In a competition, launched in June 2012 with support from BPTT, NIHERST challenged youths between the ages of 14 and 28 to create music videos that would show the central role of science, technology and innovation (STI) in development.

With the rise of smart phones, You Tube and social media, videos are increasingly popular as a communication medium, especially for a generation growing up in the digital era. Scientific knowledge and information can now 'go viral', through the same portals used for entertainment, and reach many more people than traditional media and other educational approaches can and in more appealing ways.

In his opening remarks, Prof. Prakash Persad, Ag. Chairman of NIHERST, spoke about how difficult it was to communicate scientific knowledge to a general audience yet how easy it was to do so using media that we all enjoy. In her feature address, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Science and Technology, Mrs Angela Sinaswee Gervais, lauded the initiative, saying that nurturing the creativity of our youth was important to economic diversification and that bridging the divide between the arts and the sciences was an important aspect of building an innovative society.

Over 150 young people responded enthusiastically to the NIHERST challenge to not just create either a song or a video but to do both! They put forward concepts on a range of hot topics including climate change, deforestation, noise and other types of pollution, renewable energy, disaster preparedness, food security and biomedical engineering. Musical genres varied from soca to hip hop to hard rock, with catchy tunes, refrains and captivating video footage.

Twenty teams submitted music videos for judging, with the winners of the top three prizes of $20,000, $15,000 and $10,000 being:

  • 1st Place - 'Acoustic Overdrive' - Vincent Lewis, Cleopathra Bernard and Kyeon Constantine
  • 2nd Place - 'The Global Warming Warning' - Moses Mike
  • 3rd Place - 'Alternative Energy' - Lyndon Bacchus, Lincoln Bacchus, Duane Best and Robert Yeates.
    • Three special prizes went to:
    • 'Sweep'– Titan Lee Hai, Aaron Suite, Adam Suite and Zayna Mc Donald
    • 'We Have To Save it' – Nalini Harripersad, Rachel Gadar, Victoria Young and Swetha Gilda
    • 'Ready' – Kember Arrindell, Dane John and Warren O’Connell.
    • But everyone was a winner on the day, with more prizes being added to reward all the other teams for their hard work and creativity.

      Inspired by the success of the competition, NIHERST President, Mrs Maureen Manchouck, announced that the 2013 competition would be launched in January, much to the joy of the young audience.